It is now common knowledge that sleep deprivation affects the medical fraternity in much the same way as it affects others, and patients could end up being unwitting victims of serious errors by doctors.
Another area of serious concern is the possibility of burnout among overworked doctors, which is equally hazardous for patients.
AdvertisementA study conducted by the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine solicited answers to an online survey from a perioperative unit. The survey pointed out that physicians, who were overworked showed a greater risk of burnout as compared to nurses and other staff.
A similar conclusion was arrived at during a study conducted at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, which evaluated burnout among senior physicians of academic anesthesiology departments. They found that nearly half of anesthesiologists who answered the survey, were experiencing burnout in varying degrees.
Dr. Tait Shanafel, a Mayo Clinic hematologist, seems to have summed it up well in an editorial, "Studies have found that burnout and dissatisfaction influence patient compliance, patient satisfaction with their medical care, and quality of care. ... On a personal level, burnout has been shown to relate to suicidal ideation among both physicians and medical students and may contribute to other personal problems such as substance abuse and broken relationships. Burnout is also associated with malpractice suits and turnover which can create substantial cost to hospitals and practice groups."
It is indeed time to acknowledge the fact that Doctors too need a break to rejuvenate , and also to minimize the chances of medical errors.